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Disney Ditches Gender Labels for Halloween Costumes

Photograph by Disney

On the heels of Target's announcement that they would no longer label their toy aisles to indicate "boy" and "girl" toys, the Disney Store has launched their Halloween costume line without gendered language as well. Your kid wants to be Captain Hook? Then you should have no problem buying the Captain Hook Costume for Kids. Or how about Merida? Yep. Merida Costume for Kids is what you're looking for.

Nothing about the costumes has changed. Only the language describing them has. So whether your boy wants to be Iron Man or Mulan, or your girl wants to be Elsa or Buzz Lightyear, there will be less verbiage on the Disney Store's website to steer you away from those choices simply based on your kid's gender.

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No, this isn't pandering to the minority, this won't make your kids gay and it isn't a move to make Halloween shopping more difficult for busy parents. Just like moms and dads can still quite easily navigate the store shelves in the toy section, they too will be able to find their kid's favorite character to dress up as this Halloween season. Just because it's labeled "for kids" doesn't mean it's going to make it more difficult to find. It will just make it seem like the costume is appropriate for their child, whether they have a boy or a girl.

Just going about your life can appear to a child that this is all there is—that boys can do and use some things, and girls do and use others.

Too often, parents and their kids are pigeonholed into rigid gender expectations based on societal norms, and that's not often in the best interests of a child. For example, when my youngest daughter was around three, she thought only boys could drive trucks and was mystified when she saw a woman hop out a driver's seat of a pickup. The reason? It's not because I spent the first three years of her life telling her that girls couldn't drive trucks. Instead, it was because all of the truck drivers she knew were men.

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Just going about your life can appear to a child that this is all there is—that boys can do and use some things, and girls do and use others. It's up to us to expand their horizons and acknowledge their likes and dislikes, even if it goes against gender norms. Liking things "meant" for the opposite sex doesn't make you less of a person—it just means that you're a person, and you don't have to be relegated to the nuances of your physical sex and how society wants to define it.

So yes, if your girl wants to be a dude superhero for Halloween, or if your boy wants to be a princess, let them rock that ish this October 31. And if they want to dress up in a way that matches their physical sex? Let them rock that, too. The Disney Store isn't threatening to neuter society—it's just making it easier to live when you like things outside of what other people think you should like. And that's awesome.

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